With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind - Love

photo by leighann-renee

photo by leighann-renee

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 22: 36-40

What comes to mind when you hear the word -love? Some of us think of warm fuzzy feelings. Some think of chocolate or other favorite treat. Some of us may think of someone. Love is a choice. It’s an action.

My pastor often talks about EGRs. That’s people in whom “extra grace is required”. He goes on to say if you don’t know an EGR then perhaps you are one. Of course, this brings a lot of head nodding and laughter. But truth be told we all know people that we feel some extra grace is required to be around. (And we may very well be one of those EGRs to some other folks.)

I thank Jesus every day that He gave the extra grace required for me and you for salvation! He loved us while we were still sinners. He loved all mankind KNOWING that most wouldn’t give Him a second thought as to the gift of salvation He paid for us.

The greatest commandments are at the top of this post. Love God with your whole being and love people like you love yourself. Sounds simple. Sounds easy. But is it?

When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it’s a little harder to practice the choice, the action of love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (English Standard Version)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (New International Version)

Just being patient and kind is hard enough but then add in not to be envious and don’t brag! If that’s not the most of it, love is not proud or rude or irritable or resentful nor keeps a record of wrongs. Love isn’t glad when evil happens, but instead love rejoices with the truth. Love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.

That, my friend, is hard to do! But God (two of my favorite words) doesn’t leave us alone to do all that! He gives us the Holy Spirit to live IN us. And with God, nothing is impossible! Hallelujah!

How will the lost and dying world - let’s be more specific - how will our family member or friend or coworker ever know our Jesus’ salvation unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them. What about the believer - our family member or friend or coworker - how with they come to know the healing power of forgiveness unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them.

Yes, Jesus loves sinners. Where in the world did we get the idea that once someone is saved they are suppose to be “perfect”? Just before Jesus was betrayed by Judas He told ALL of the other eleven disciples that they all would abandon Him. And they did. After they had given up and went back to fishing, there was Jesus on the shore waiting on them with breakfast cooked - loving them.

Without love, we’re just a clanging cymbal. Without love, we’re nothing.

You’ve heard the old adage that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It’s true and the only way to show folks that you care is to love them…and for some a little “extra grace is required.”

What to Do with God's Calling in the Now - Managing Life's Demands AND God's Calling

Nathan Dumlao

Nathan Dumlao

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
— Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV

As a new Christian I worried over what the will of God was for my life. After all, preachers said they knew God’s will was to be a preacher. Missionaries the same. It seems so holy to be called into such a vocation.

But what about the rest of us? Let’s take a look at some people in the Bible. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus made him a fisher of men. Lydia was a seller of purple goods and she helped Paul in his ministry (gave him lodging) and I’m sure shared her faith in her daily life. Joseph from the Old Testament answered God’s calling as a slave for much of his life! (Before he became second in command after Pharaoh.

We are called to serve Jesus where we are…in the now. In our vocation, we should be honest and hard working. When asked why, be ready to share the gospel of Christ. In our home, we should be a steward of God’s gifts - serve our family and others. That may mean opening your home like Lydia did. Maybe is caring for those in need with the things you have or can produce from your home. I’m specifically thinking of sharing material things and cooking meals for others, etc.

But what if you feel called to be a ___________? You fill in the blank. God’s calling is not a mystery.

Christ wants a personal relationship with you and He wants you to love Him and love others. It is God’s will that we love Him, love others and be obedient to His Word.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22: 37-40 ESV

.Christ commands that as we go about our life we are to make disciples.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28: 19-20 ESV

Whatever your vocation or station in life - Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. As you are doing that, share the gospel and make disciples.

We all are to do this as we live our lives. Jesus took time for people - all people. We should do the same. Jesus served others. We should do the same.

One way I feel I can share my faith in Jesus Christ is by writing this blog. No one sponsors me. I put my faith out there and slowly people are reading and sharing the blog with others.

One way I share my faith is by helping when I see a need that I can do something about. That may be taking a meal to someone who is sick or giving money to a cause a believe in or giving my time and/or sharing my home when I can.

One way I share my faith is by telling someone my personal testimony and sharing scriptures on how to be saved. God has even allowed me the privilege of leading a few souls to Him!

While you are living in the NOW of your life, you are to be living God’s call on your life. Nothing you do will compare with the relationship you have with our Lord. God does the EXTRA in our ORDINARY lives. He began that good work in you when He saved you and He’ll be faithful to complete it!

Share with me how God is using you in your now. I’d love to hear from you!

The Importance of the Present - Managing Life's Demands AND God's Calling

Photo by Chris Benson

Photo by Chris Benson

My parents died when my children were very young. My son remembers them but the memories are few. My daughter really can’t remember them at all.

One thing my Mother told me before she died while she was holding my little boy was, “Wendy, be present when you’re with these babies.” She went on to explain that one of the most important gifts you can bestow on anyone is your attention when you give your time.

I’ve never forgotten that. I didn’t always practice that, but just as soon as I realized my kids were pulling on me when they were little or saying “You’re not listening” as they got older, I would stop what I was doing and give them my full attention. Those times were and are priceless! I have to say, my Mother was full of great advice (and so was my Dad).

I say all that to say this, time with the ones we love is precious. They’re here one minute and gone the next. I know what it’s like to be so busy with work and what I feel God is calling me to do that I short change those I love. I have to consciously STOP and be in the present when in the presence of others. At first, it was difficult, but once I got it through my thick skull that things are temporary, people are of ETERNAL value and that my FAMILY is who God has entrusted to me, it’s much easier.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

Even now I have to keep reminding myself that all the things I feel like God is calling me to do may not be what He wants me to do at this moment. For example, I believe God is calling me to be a writer and author and He has blessed me with my first self-published book. I know He will have me complete the series that I started, He has me writing this blog and there are a few other things I believe He will have me write and do. But at the present time, I am still working full-time and preparing for a move - a move that is so much God’s calling. So I write at a much slower pace than I’d like to write. I note topics of things that He gives me. And I read His word so I am ready when the time comes.

Hold fast to your calling! Work toward your calling. Be in the present. You may find that His calling is as much in the journey as it is the destination! The good works you are doing by truly living in the present as you follow Christ in the “NOW” of your calling may never be fully known this side of heaven.

I’d love to hear from you! What are some areas you are being called to serve our great Father?

Reconciliation - Hard to Do But Great Rewards -Part 4

photo by mael-balland at unsplash

photo by mael-balland at unsplash

So our last discussion about reconciliation is that between parent and child. First, please know that God put you together. As the parent, your love for our child really is unconditional (at least as a believer) and whether we disapprove of a behavior or some situation in our child’s life, we love our child! As a child, you can’t help but love and want to feel love from your parent. There is a natural bond between the two.

Now, I do understand that the above can be tainted if one or both have a true mental illness. But otherwise, is the problem, situation or hurt really worth the estrangement?

Again, we must remember that we can only do our part. What is our part?

  1. Accept responsibility - even if you don’t feel you are in the wrong, somewhere, somehow you have played a part - maybe your part has just been being unwilling to forgive

  2. Apologize for your part in the matter - whatever part that is

  3. Forgive them - whether they ask for your forgiveness or not. Forgiveness restores your relationship with Christ and releases the bitter, hard feelings you have toward the other

  4. Live peaceably - this may be difficult when the other party doesn’t want to reconcile, but do your part

  5. Pray, pray, pray for this person - trust me when I tell you that God will work a miracle in your heart toward someone you’ve had unforgiveness toward and you consistently pray for them. You will start to see them as God sees you - a hopeless sinner except by His mercy and grace…

Let’s look at scripture.

Ephesians 6:1-4 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

The above verses don’t say “unless they do…” or “except when they…”.

Child you are to obey your parents so long as you are under their care and their direction does not violate God’s word. Regardless, of your age you are to honor your father and mother. That does not mean you have to be mistreated by them, but you can stand up with honor. You can choose to show respect even if you disagree.

Parents are not to drive their child to exasperation-don’t provoke them. Don’t push and prod to the point the child feels demoralized and broken or driven by anger. Instead, teach them the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Show and teach them what is right by God’s standard. Lovingly hold them accountable while they are under your care. Once they are out of your house, keep loving them even when you don’t agree with their actions.

Is this always easy? Of course not! Do we mess up? Yes, we do. - both parent and child. Is there forgiveness? YES, always from God when we repent and yes, there should be between parent and child if both are believers. And if only one of you are a believer, what better way to demonstrate the love of God to the lost one than by forgiving and living peaceably?

Reconciliation can be hard, but the rewards are great! I’m praying for you! If you find yourself in the midst of needing reconciliation, cry out to Jesus and follow Him down the road to reconciliation!